27-May-2013 – With so many confluence points visited in Kazakhstan and this one just outside the capital Astana not yet visited, I should have understood it would not be simple. Makhmoud, the taxi driver did not have any proper maps and I decided to base myself on the maps in my Nokia N8. Straight from Astana to the confluence point the GPS says 35 km. But the N8 sent us on existing and invisible tracks which indicated a round about way of 97 km. The terrain is absolute flat with the occasional wet areas. That meant we did not get closer than 3 km. N8 indicated that the best way was in from the southwest, but we had to give up and head south from Aqmola and Radionovka.
Finally we came to a point where the driver did not want to leave the track and we started walking the remaining 3 km to the CP. The land was absolutely flat, the sun was shining and the horizon was like out on the ocean. After a couple of kilometers we could no longer see the car (curvature of the globe?) and we came to a river too deep and fast to wade. Fortunately we met a retired man with a tent, an old Lada AND a rubber dingy we were allowed to borrow. On the other side of the river we walked a couple of kilometers more as the river went in curves which were not possible to see before we reached the bank. In the middle of the field with extremely hungry mosquitoes we finally found our confluence point. The whole expedition took nine hours. No wonder the point had not been covered before.
The fields were very lively with birds of many kind, even an eagle. Many cows and hundreds of horses bred for restaurants, Makhmoud said.